Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two, here to read Part Three, here to read Part Four, and here to read Part Five.
“What are you doing?” the boy yelled, his mind still reeling from everything that had happened in the last few moments. “You're supposed to be gone! You're supposed to be safe,” he added more softly. After everything I did, she’s just going to die anyway….
“You need me here,” she answered, her tone leaving no room for argument.
The boy tried anyway. “No, I want you—”
He was stopped by a hissing sound from the direction of the ice army. Both spun around to see a hail of arrows bearing down on them. The boy instinctively jumped in front of the girl, shielding her body with his, but she pushed him out of the way and raised her hands.
He looked on in shock as the arrowheads disintegrated and the shafts burst into flames. Sparks filled the air as a second volley came, but it suffered the same fate as the first.
Chaos erupted below. The ice soldiers began dropping their weapons and running, terrified by what they had seen. Commanding officers screamed for order, but to no avail.
While the army was distracted, the boy stepped closer to the girl and tapped her shoulder. She turned to face him. “What…?” he asked, unable to form any other words.
“I have a lot to tell you,” the girl said, “but we don't have time right now. Pretty soon that army is going to realize I can't stop all of them, and they’ll attack. We need to make sure the other army is what they go after when they breach the wall.”
“Other army?” the boy asked. “You mean that,” he pointed towards another falling building near the docks, “is not just another part part of this ice army?”
“No,” she answered. “And they're not an ice army. Only the commander has that power, but he can use it on objects he's not actually touching. And there's one other thing too.”
“There always is,” the boy said with a sigh.
“The commander is the man from the library.”
The boy wanted to slap himself. I shouldn't have trusted that man. She warned me not to. “I'm sorry.”
“Don't be,” she answered. “You may have saved us all by giving him those arrows.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, looking over the parapet at the ice army. They were beginning to reorganize.
“My plan is, let the two armies clash. They'll destroy each other, and then we step in and take care of what's left.”
“The entire city will be decimated in the process.” The army was starting to move forward, the boy noted.
“You have a better plan?” the girl asked, narrowing her eyes.
“No,” he answered. “Let’s go.”
She glanced at the approaching ice army and nodded.
After telling the Cliffhaven army, and everyone else they saw, to retreat to the west side of the city, the boy and the girl climbed to the top of the tallest building they could find. As soon as they got to the window, they both wished they hadn't looked.
The city looked like it had been stepped on by a giant. The two armies were nearing the center, leaving in their wakes a frozen ruin.
“Rebuilding this is going to take years,” the girl said.
“Right now we just need to focus on surviving,” the boy answered.
They fell silent as the armies drew closer. More and more buildings turned to ice and crumbled to the ground. Soon there was only a hundred yards between them. The front lines on both sides broke into a run. The girl held her breath.
Moments before the first two enemies met, an immense explosion of ice came from the middle of the ice army. For several seconds all that was visible was a cloud of minuscule ice shards, but when it settled, the children’s eyes widened in horror.
Nearly the entire army was gone. Turned to ice.
“Oh no,” the girl whispered. This plan isn’t going to work if the black army takes the city without losing a single man.
The scattered remnants of the ice army turned and ran, disappearing into doors and alleyways.
The girl glanced at the boy. He shook his head. “There's no way we can defeat him,” he said.
“What about hope?” she asked, looking him in the eyes. “Do you remember what you told me?”
“I don't know what kind of powers you have, but there's no way we’re going to win. I'm sorry,” the boy said, looking down. “Sometimes there just isn't any hope.”
“What if I told you,” the girl said slowly, “that there's a reason we’re here? That there's a Creator who made us, and has promised to help us? Would you have hope then?”
The boy looked up, confused. What is going on? She’s gone for one day and she comes back with fire blasting hands and believing in some new deity? “Is the Creator the one that gave you your… power?”
“I don't guess there's any denying his existence, then,” he answered. “But…” I can’t make any kind of decision on this right now, we need to be planning, we need to be--
The girl stepped closer to him. “There's always hope.”
He met her fierce, determined gaze. She really believes this. I don't know if she’s right or not, but I trust her.
“Come on,” the girl said, taking off towards the stairs.
“Wait.” The boy grabbed her arm. “Thank you,” he said simply, and pulled her into an embrace. “If we don't both make it out, I just want you to know I'm sorry for everything that happened, and—”
The girl stepped back and raised a hand. He stopped talking. “I need to know one thing,” she said. “Why did you send me away?”
“I wanted to protect you, but I knew you would never leave as long as I was here. So I had to do something to make you go,” he answered.
“Some things are more important than life,” the girl said softly. “I'd rather die today knowing you're my best friend than live for a thousand years thinking you hated me.”
A tear slid down the boy’s cheek. “I understand that now. I’m sorry. I'm so, so…”
The girl stepped forward and gently put her arms around him. They held each other for a few long, comforting moments, blocking out all of the darkness and evil around them with their joy.
Finally she pulled back and pointed her finger at the boy. “But I swear, if you die before we win this thing, I'm going to kill you.”
“I'll keep that in mind,” he said, the corner of his mouth crooked upward.
Together they hurried down the stairs and out of the building.
As they started towards the center of the city, the king saw them and hurried over. “Where are you going?” he asked.
The girl frowned. “None of your business,” she answered. “Stay put.”
His brows furrowed. “But I'm sure my army could be of help—”
“Stay out of it!” she snapped. “I wouldn't trust you to feed a flitwing, much less fight beside me in battle!”
The boy’s eyes widened slightly.
“What are you talking about? You couldn't possibly know anything about me,” the king sneered.
“Oh yes, I do,” the girl said, glaring at the king, who backed away as she raised her hands towards him. Evidently he'd seen what she had done to the ice army’s arrows, and didn't want to suffer the same fate.
“Stay here.” The girl spun around and stalked off towards the east. “We’ll see about my crown later,” she added under her breath, then turned to the boy. “Let’s go.”
A few minutes later, they heard a noise from up ahead. Ducking into the shadow of a nearby house, they stopped to listen. It was a sound unlike any they had ever heard. Half roar, half scream, it echoed deafeningly through the city again and again.
The girl glanced at the boy. He shrugged.
They began creeping forward, the sound growing louder each time as they got closer. Soon it was deafening, but they still had no clue as to what it might be.
Then they rounded a corner, and both froze in terror. Before them stood the commander of the black army, but he wasn't looking at them. He had his sword raised, and was facing a huge, fierce, scaly…
“Icedrake,” the girl whispered.
Written by Elia Tyson
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.